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The Actuary The magazine of the Institute & Faculty of Actuaries
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Give students the vote

The life of an actuarial student does not often extend much beyond studying, working and (for those clinging on to their university days) partying until dawn. Indeed, often students are brushed aside as an inexperienced horde lacking knowledge in the ways of the actuarial world, consigned to menial spreadsheet work until they have gained appropriate actuarial/business acumen. Consequently, there are often decisions made about the profession without any input from actuarial students — but is this justified? Should students be cast aside and have their views ignored just because they are not qualified?

What has caused me to get so riled up? The never-ending talks about the merger, of course. Despite the fact that this merger will affect the futures of actuarial students just as much as qualified actuaries of the profession, students were not allowed to vote. When I questioned this, I was told: “This is set out in the current by-laws and rules for the Faculty and the Institute”. This, clearly, did not directly answer my question and when I probed further I received no reply.

This leads me to conclude that the only reason students were not allowed to vote is that the rules say so and that no one really knows why this rule exists in the first place. Is this fair? Is it the sort of response we should expect from a supposedly forward-thinking profession?

Students were encouraged to pass their views on to a qualified actuary who could vote on their behalf and also told, “you can still play a part in the process by encouraging your colleagues who are eligible to vote to do so”. But exactly how is the poor student supposed to have their views heard when the qualified actuary is likely to vote with their own view?

I am no longer a student, having recently qualified, but I was not allowed to vote because I did not find out I was qualified before 31 May... go figure. To conclude, students are not second-class members of the profession — they are the future of the profession. So start treating them with the respect they deserve.

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Should students get the vote? Write in to studentpage@the-actuary.org.uk with your views
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How to fail an actuarial exam with style
By Tendai Gotora

Studying for actuarial exams is tough work. To relieve stress levels, I thought it would be good to share with my fellow students some comic relief that I came across on the web while searching for advice on how to pass an actuarial exam. I picked (and amended) my top 10 tips on how to fail an actuarial exam (besides using a prohibited calculator!) from an entry dated 17 December 2006 on the blog, Mike The Actuary’s Musings, entitled 50 Ways To Fail An Actuarial Exam — With Style.
(Source: www.triskele.com/50-ways-to-fail-anactuarial-examwith-style)

1 Bring cheat sheets for a different exam and include them with your written answer papers with the comment: “Please use the attached notes for references as you see fit”.

2 Every now and then, clap twice rapidly. If the invigilator asks why, tell him/her in a condescending tone, “the light bulb that goes on above my head when I get an idea is hooked to a clapper. Duh!”

3 Show up completely drunk (completely drunk means at some point you should start crying for your mum).

4 As soon as the invigilator hands you the exam, eat it.

5 Fifteen minutes into the exam, stand up, rip up all the papers into very small pieces, throw them into the air and yell, “Merry Christmas”. If you’re really daring, ask for another copy of the exam. Say you lost the first one. Repeat this process every 15 minutes.

6 Walk in, get the exam, and sit down. About five minutes into it, run out screaming, “I can’t take the stress any more!” (Surely someone, somewhere, must have done this before!)

7 Talk the entire way through the exam. Read questions and debate your answers with yourself out loud. If asked to stop, yell, “I’m sooo sure you can hear me thinking”.

8 Upon receiving the exam, look it over. While laughing loudly, say, “You don’t really expect me to waste my time on this drivel? Days of our Lives is on!”

9 From the moment the exam begins, hum the theme to Countdown. Ignore the invigilator’s requests for you to stop.

10 One word: Wrestlemania. Good luck to all students who took exams in October! ______________________________________________________________

Tendai Gotora is a junior consultant (Life Insurance) for African Actuarial Consultants in Zimbabwe